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Firefighters save 3 men from apartment fire

Trapped in their third-floor apartments, three men were rescued early Tuesday morning by city firemen from a 12-unit apartment house at 324-326 Park Ave.

City firefighters pulled two roommates from their smoke-filled apartment at the back of the building and safely brought them down a fire escape moments after arriving on the scene about 2:30 a.m.

A third tenant was rescued from the window of his front apartment and safely brought below on the city’s tower truck, according to Assistant City Fire Chief Mark Killian.

The daring rescues occurred as intense flames consumed a first-floor apartment at the front of the building.

“There was all this smoke just rolling out of the building. It was pretty bad. I also heard people yelling,” neighbor Donna Moyer, who has lived on the block for 20 years, said.

It was unknown exactly how many people were in the three-story structure at the time of the fire because some of those who were there were visiting and did not actually live there, officials said.

Killian said Tuesday night a total of 16 tenants were displaced by the two-alarm blaze that was knocked down in about 30 minutes.

Everyone else safely made it out on their own, officials said.

Firefighters were able to keep the fire itself to the first-floor apartment, where the blaze originated, Killian said. He said investigators will likely be able to release the cause of the fire in the next couple of days.

There was heat and smoke damage throughout the first floor.

The owner of the structure was Keith Redden, who lived in the building, according to city Deputy Fire Chief David Dymeck.

More information, including the names of the other tenants, was expected to be released later this week. All were getting assistance from the local chapter of the American Red Cross, friends or family members, officials said.

When city police arrived on the scene, they could hear people screaming from an apartment on the top floor at the back of the building. The officers directed two firefighters to the rear of the structure.

The two firefighters climbed a fire escape and forced open an exterior door as well as the door to the apartment where two men were trapped.

“Smoke just poured out of the apartment. You really couldn’t see anything,” said one of the firemen, who could also hear the tenants yelling for help.

“Through the smoke, you could see a glimpse of the people,” he added.

“We yelled at them ‘Come our way, come our way,'” the firefighter said. Once the tenants got close enough, the firefighters just grabbed them and safely led them outside to the fire escape.

Both tenants were examined by paramedics at the scene, but neither one needed medical treatment.

However, the tenant who was lowered in the tower was taken by ambulance to the Williamsport Regional Medical Center to be treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries, officials said.

“The firefighters got a really good, quick hit on the fire” with two hoses, one that was stretched through the front door and another through the back that was carried to the second floor, Dymeck explained.

This was the second time in 10 days that firefighters made a rescue during a fire.

A team of Jersey Shore volunteer firemen successfully pulled a tenant to safety from his apartment during a late-night fire that broke out at the Broadway Hotel at 120 S. Broad St. in the borough on Feb. 15. The cause of this fire remains under investigation by state police.

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